REW.ca asked consumers for their thoughts on the current Vancouver real estate market.
We asked because expert opinion is easy to find -- consumer opinion, not so much. Government, banks, real estate boards and other industry heavyweights weigh in regularly with predictions based on what consumers have done. So we like to ask consumers what they think they will do in hopes of getting a crystal-ball glimpse of the near-future.
We asked only two questions in our March 2012 Consumer Confidence Survey:
- Do you think it's a good time to BUY a house/condo in the next three months?
- Do you think it's a good time to SELL a house condo in the next three months?
Then we had them tell us their reasons. We didn't give them a list of choices. Instead we let them give their own answers and then we grouped them.
Good time to buy?
On the "good time to buy" question, our 278 respondents were almost evenly split, and the answers were consistent across the region and across all demographics. Renters -- 22 per cent of the respondents -- were just as split as owners on whether or not to buy in the current real estate market.
High prices were the largest deterrent to buying: 49 per cent of the No side said prices were too high to encourage buying now.
On the Yes side, 28 per cent of the respondents were encouraged by the lowest interest rates ever seen, and 17 per cent believed there was a lot to choose from on the market.
But all sorts of other factors emerged in the spontaneous answers people gave to " Is it a good time to buy in the next three months?"
Good time to sell?
A clear, but small majority said it is a good time to sell, but there was no single reason given. Those who thought the time is right to sell cited five main factors that showed they were paying attention to the real estate market.
There was a range of opinion on house prices on the Yes side. While 17 per cent think a price correction is coming (making now a good time to cash out), 7 per cent think prices have stabilized and 8 per cent think prices will continue to rise. (So far this year, Greater Vancouver prices have risen by only 0.1 per cent.)
The respondents who wouldn't sell expressed concern about the economy in general and about a possible market correction in the coming months, which would make a home purchase immediately lose value.
Looks like the crystal ball is still cloudy.
We welcome your comments on whether it's a good time to buy or sell a home in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Abbostford/Chilliwack in the coming three months. What do you think?
See survey details here.